After Berlin, I was looking forward to a jolly old time in London! Happy Cow came up with 131 results for vegetarian and vegan specific cafes and restaurants so I was hoping that being a vegan in London would be a breeze.
We arrived in London around lunch time, and eager to get started with sightseeing decided to drop into the Tesco Express across from our hotel to grab a quick bite.
They had a fridge full of freshly made salads and sandwiches and I picked up a falafel and hummus wrap with a lovely mango chutney – it was tasty, cheap, and a great option on the run. The supermarket became a daily visit on the trip to pick up fruit and snacks each day – I also discovered their Tesco brand dark chocolate with raspberry which was one of the best vegan chocolates I found during the whole trip. Having a quick Google now, their website even commends vegetarian and vegan diets.
After some sightseeing we made our way to the Regent Street Food Quarter on Heddon Street which was absolutely pumping with Londoners having after work drinks. It was a great vibe, making me excited to visit the vegetarian restaurant I had my sights set on – Tibits.
Tibits is a great little non-GMO vegetarian buffet with all food clearly labelled – not only as vegan but allergens such as gluten, nuts, soy and for the religious onion, garlic and celery. The range of food on the buffet was great – tonnes of salads and hot meals that were really fresh and nourishing and a dessert bar with vegan sticky date pudding – yummo! You pay by weight, which works out quite reasonable, I paid around 8 pounds for my stacked plate plus 2 pounds for a serve of sticky date pudding. We both gave this a rating: 4/5
The next day I was left to my own devices and, after going for a jog through Kensington Gardens, met a friend from home at Earls Court. After getting my obligatory Tardis photo (yes, Doctor Who geek here!) we headed to 222 Veggie Vegan.
222 Veggie Vegan
222 is another buffet, but is all vegan and all-you-can-eat for 7.50 pounds, not including dessert. There was less on offer here than at Tibits and the decor wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing, but most importantly the food was delicious, especially the cheesy tomato and lentil bake and pasta salad. The omni friend I took along really enjoyed it as well which is always a plus! Rating: 3.5/5.
That night we had tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera (yes… also a musical geek!) so grabbed a quick bite a Pret A Manger, a healthy ‘fast food’ chain that’s all over London. I had eaten at these when I visited New York a few years ago so hoped I’d find something there. They have lots of vegetarian food but their vegan range isn’t as wide as I was expecting. I ended up with a yummy quinoa salad though, so you should always be able to find at least one option there.
On our last day we headed to the Portobello Markets for a wander to see what vintage clothes we could pick up. Stopping for lunch in a food court towards the end of the main drag my cousin who recently moved to London suggested the Venezuelan ‘Guasacaca‘, selling a sandwich type food called Arepas. They had a vegetarian black bean option, so I went for that without cheese, added plantain (fried banana) and loads of spicy guacamole.The bread was unlike any I’ve tried before and the plantain went really well with the guac and beans, so this is a great stop for a completely different experience.
For a quick dinner we ended up at Wholefoods, which I didn’t even realise was in London – I was really excited to see it knowing they offered lots of vegan food at their US stores. This one did have a pay-by-weight buffet but didn’t seem to have as many vegan options as the US stores seem to, nevertheless I enjoyed the meal and after exploring the aisles found a ‘Cat and the Cream’ vegan cupcake, raw ‘Conscious Chocolate’ and ‘Booja Booja’ truffles – score!
I got the feeling that vegan meals may be easier to find in the UK since they’re slightly more in tune with animal welfare. The UK government has urged citizens to eat less meat for their health, the environment and developing countries sake and most British people I’ve spoken with have been aware of the issues of where their food comes from. So again, for me being vegan in London was pretty easy – I found it funny that most of the places I visited were buffets though… next time I’ll make a point of having an a la carte meal!
Have you visited London as a vegan? What were your favourite places to eat?
Next up… Paris!